A Mammoth Stroll with David McLay-Kidd PDF Print E-mail

 

By Jason Bruno

 

 

Since you're here, we can safely assume that you have an appreciation for

golf course design. If you're not aware of the name David McLay-Kidd, then

you have a lot to catch up on, Google him and his course designs. Next, go

book a round on one of his courses. Bandon Dunes, Gamble Sands, or Sand

Valley's Mammoth Dunes, just get it done - you can thank me later.

 


 

 

 

The son of Scottish golf course superintendent Jimmy Kidd, David grew up on

some of the finest terra firma that the British Isles have to offer. Now 50, David

McLay-Kidd has become one of the absolute masters of golf course architecture.

His impressive resume of course designs includes the course that may have had

the biggest impact on American golfers in our lifetime - the original course at

Bandon Dunes. Kidd's catalog of notable designs is vast and includes such names

as Tetherow in Oregon, Queenwood in west London and most recently Gamble

Sands that overlooks the Columbia River along the high desert of north central

Washington.

 

 

 

 

 

Click the link to read our feature on Gamble Sands from our visit in '15.

http://linksnation.com/site/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=606:gamble-sands&catid=9:course-reviews&Itemid=10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

14th on DMK's Tetherow course in Bend, Oregon

 

 

 

We caught up with DMK during our visit to the Badger state earlier this summer

and then for a follow up (via phone) just a few days ago (Aug.18th) as he was

driving back towards Wisconsin after a day spent at Chicago Golf Club with Mike

Keiser, Tom Shapland and Brad Kinsey (President of Chicago Golf Club).

During our visit to Sand Valley, six holes on Kidd's new Mammoth Dunes course

were open for preview play (just this past week it was announced that 9 holes

were now open) and Kidd took the role as tour guide and caddie as we discussed

his work on what is the second course at Sand Valley, and a bit about many

subjects including Bandon, what he learned from Tom Watson and an epiphany

that has changed everything for DMK design . . .

 

 

LinksNation: Before we really dig into Sand Valley, and since this is our

first meeting in person, I'd be remiss if we didn't discuss the phenomenon

of Bandon and the inspiration it has been to so many, including myself. On

behalf of linksters and course design enthusiasts everywhere - Thank You,

most notably for the 16th hole, which is a magnificent design in the ideal

setting, truly a spiritual experience. So a big tip of the hat for what you were

able to do there.

 

 

 


Bandon Dunes 16th - (The link to one of our many Bandon features below)

http://linksnation.com/site/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=596:bandon-dunes-resort&catid=2:brunos-blog&Itemid=3

 

 

 

 

McLay-Kidd: It's cool looking back at it 20 years later, I'm 50 this year.

Mike hired me when I was 26, the course opened when I was 30.

 

 

LN: How did that come about?

 

 

DMK: He (Mike Keiser) wanted to build a British links course. So after lots

of chatting with lots of American designers he went out and sought a British

designer. He wanted someone that was unaffected by the Americanism of golf,

he wanted someone who was so steeped in the tradition of the game that they

really didn't have any other knowledge other than that. When Mike looked at

my pedigree, I really didn't have one. My pedigree was only playing golf in the

UK.

 

 

LN: Did he know your Dad (Jimmy Kidd) ?

 

 

DMK: Yeah he did, he and my Dad are the same age (within two days of each

other). It handily influenced him, my Dad is a superintendent. My Dad and Mike

would speak plainly and between the two of them Mike saw me as the younger

more bullish version of my father. Somewhere in there he saw potential that

nobody else including I could have seen. And so he hired me and I did what I

only knew. I didn't know anything else, I didn't know how to create Tom Fazio

bunkers, I didn't know how to put Pete Dye artifices in. All I knew was I spent

my whole life playing these old courses in the British isles and so I did what I

knew. When everybody in the U.S Ooo-ed and Ahh-ed about Bandon, to me it

was like every other course I had played like Machrihanish, Carnoustie or bits

of North Berwick or Gullane or any course I played as a kid. Why so much

hoopla? If you took Bandon Dunes and parked it on the west coast of Ireland it

would be another great course on the west coast of Ireland. It wouldn't be the

only one. On the west coast of the United States, it was the only one. Nothing

else like it, and still nothing even close . . .

 

 

LN: Poa has krept into the greens at Bandon now, with an exception of Old

Mac. Is that just the way it's going to be, and what are the green surfaces

here - Bent?

 


DMK: It's the way it's gonna be, that climate is so temperate, so damp,

there's no way of avoiding it. It's about a 10 year window, they were all

mint fescue at one point.

 

We had long conversations about the greens here (at Sand Valley), I certainly

debated it with Mike, I'm not sure that Mike ever really debated it himself. He

just said early on that it was going to bent grass.

 

 

 

 

Linksters enjoy the setting and the food at Sand Valley's Mammoth Terrace

 

 

 

 

LN: Tell me about this particular parcel of the property that you've created

Mammoth Dunes on. You're right up front here at the clubhouse as opposed

to Coore Crenshaw's layout that is a bit more remote here at the resort, how

did that come to be?

 

 

DMK: When I did the original master plan for this (Mammoth Dunes), I

wanted this spot, as a golf aficianado yourself, I would suggest - and these

are my words alone - that Tom Doak and Coore Crenshaw probably want that

remoteness, as where I gravitated towards the mothership. I wanted to get

to open the doors to all the visitors the way that I did at Bandon. I wanted

to do the same thing for Mike (Keiser) here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LN: We are standing here on the first tee at Mammoth Dunes, where did the

name come from?

 

DMK: It was just announced about a month ago (May), it came from Mike.

Certainly the scale of what we're building and the size of the dunes - that

dune on your right is 80 feet tall. So the title Mammoth Dunes came from

the scale of the sand dunes. (He points over to another massve dune in the

distance that is so big that the large piece of land moving equipment looks

like a matchbox car on a mountain side).

 

 

LN: What I see out there, was this all existing here before?

 

 

DMK: This golf course we moved almost nothing. That abyss through the

middle here, we took that down a few feet and used the material to build

the clubhouse pad, that's the only dirt on the whole golf course that we

moved. Every other piece that you're gonna see on these six holes hasn't

been moved other then being pushed with a dozier a few yards here and

there, but nothing moved.

 

From this point on it's no longer a typical Q & A, it's David and I walking his

six hole preview of Mammoth Dunes. He is describing his thoughts during the

design process and how he thinks they should best be played . . .

 

 

 

 

 

The first at Sand Valley's Mammoth Dunes

 

 

 

 

 

DMK: Ok, here we are on the first tee. I love to be contrarian. So for every

golfer that stares down the first hole of a golf course, they always want to hit

it down the middle right? Well the one place I don't want you to hit it here is

down the middle, pick a side I don't care which one, but pick a side. As long as

you don't hit it down the middle you're good here. It might be the only opening

hole in golf where down the middle is the bad place to go. (I of course picked

the right side, and pulled it slightly onto the left part of the fairway, and in

typical Kidd fashion he says - that'll work, don't even explain it)

 

Earlier today we were back there (he points in the distance) working on the

fairway on fourteen, and on the other side of that is the tenth green. About 200

yards on the other side is what were working on right now. I'm trying to build a

hole that I've never tried to build before - It's a dogleg left, but on a straight line

it's a 280 yard par 4, so if you saw that on a scorecard you would assume that

it's driveable right? I'm going to set it up so it's pretty much impossible to drive

it.

 

 

LN: You said 16 at Bandon was never designed to be driveable, and yet I've

attempted to drive it everytime I've played it.

 

 

DMK: It never was, the green is totally not set up for that shot.

 

 

LN: Very True, but the solution to that is to hit it just left of the green pin

high and pitch or chip it on - unless the pin is tucked over that perfectly

placed pot bunker you put there. . .

 

So when is the target date for the grand opening here on Mammoth Dunes?

 

 

DMK: Probably July 1 as a formal opening, with preview play starting in mid-

May but with restricted numbers. Even now I think they're only going to allow

50 people a day out here.

 

 

LN: How long have these six holes been finished?

 

 

DMK: These were all done last year, they were grassed in last September.

This first hole is 375 yards, if you would have gone the other route and

stayed high you would actually have got a little run on the ball and you'd

have a completely open view of the green. You have 153 into the wind, will

play like 165 yards.

 

 

LN: I want to talk a bit about your work on Gamble Sands, I was there the

summer of '15 drove up there the day after working on Josh Lewis' agronomy

staff at Chambers Bay. It played really firm and fast, and my impression was

that it's the most playable course I've ever experienced, and what I mean by

that is - absolutely any type of player from tour pro to a 30 handicapper can

come go out there and play it and have a great time.

 

 

 

Mammoth 5th & 6th holes

 

 

 

 

DMK: The take away for me is, Casey (Kidd's design partner at DMK Design)

and I built that in 2012 and we had been experimenting with design ideas for

a few years before that and Gamble was sort of the latest iteration of those

design ideas. Mike Keiser went there and loved it so much that he immediately

hired us to this.

 

Mike asked me to speak to one of his groups at Bandon, and I said I'll happily

come speak to your group, but only if you play Gamble Sands. So he played it

with Mike Davis (from the USGA) and Tim Boyle (owner of Columbia Sportswear).

He called as soon as he came off 18, and told me, "I'd put Gamble Sands in the

World Top 50".

 

 

LN: I thought the same thing, it was most fun golf course that I ever played.

(I then two putted for par at the first on Mammoth Dunes)

 


DMK: The second here is 395 yards. If you can carry the bunker or keep it

right of it, that's ideal. Keep it to the right here. (After another pulled tee shot)

Ok, you're down the left again, that's gonna make it interesting.


I think the premise of golf course architecture is fundamentally wrong. The

teachings of the great architects from 100 years ago were wrong then and

they're wrong today.

 


LN: You're gonna have to give me an example.

 


DMK: If a shot is not executed, (it has always been thought that) if the ask

of the golf course architect is not met, that shot should be punished. I think

that is a fundamental fallacy, here's why - the shot in and of itself is the

punishment. Most often if I think up a defense against your best attack, any-

thing less than your best attack is punishment in itself. Let's take your tee

shot here, you're now out of position, will you enjoy this hole more or less

if I give you an opportunity for redemption or if I put you in jail?

 


LN: Certainly more if you give me a chance, of course. No doubt about that.

 


DMK: But, that opportunity for redemption requires an even better shot than

if you had executed well the first time. On this hole you're now coming into a

shallow green with a front pin downwind, so for you to get this close for a

birdie putt would require one of the best shots of the day. When you stood on

the tee and pulled it left, you had a feeling of dred, like I pulled it into this waste

bunker and I'm not going to enjoy this hole now. You come up and over the hill

and see that you're not in the waste bunker, you're staring right at the flag.

You'll be looking at your 3 buddies thinking "my money is not in their pocket

yet". 122 yards left, aim half a stick right of that pin (I hit gap wedge just below

the flag about 15 feet away). Let's walk over here to the right and let me show

you where you would've been had you bloody well done what you were told.

(laughter ensues).

 


LN: I agree, that tee shot was total rubbish.

 

 

DMK: If you had hit a good shot over here I'm gonna give you some run out

and a better position to the green.

 

 

LN: As we walk towards the green, I pick up where we left off: So you finish

Gamble Sands back in 2012/2013, did you immediately know that you hit a

home run when you finished?

 

 

DMK: Casey and I were down in Nicaragua back in 2010, and we built a

course called Guacalito De La Isla, and everyone that came and played

that - love it. We had this whole epiphany about golf course design.

Instead of just pissing people off, what happens if we just try and help

them and get them to enjoy the game more. So we did a bunch of

stuff down there and it worked great, so we went to Gamble and then

to London and were doing the same stuff. So did we know? We thought

so, but didn't know for sure until people played it.

 


*(Questions from our Aug.18th follow up have an asterik)

 


*LN: So, You have nine holes Open now on (Mammoth Dunes) ?

 

 

DMK: Nine holes are open and holes six, seven, eight, nine, ten and fourteen

are all grassed, so there's only another three holes left and they'll actually

grass one of those tomorrow morning, so we're really close. By the end of the

month we should have the whole golf course grassed, then we have another

six weeks or so of final adjustments of little tweaks and nips and tucks and then

we'll batter down for winter and we hope this winter is kind. Next Spring we'll

add a few more holes to the preview round and the formal opening will likely

be July 1 of next year.

 

 

*LN: So, eleven, twelve and thirteen are the last three (holes) that you're

working on?

 

 

DMK: Yep, that's it. A short par 5, a medium length par 4 and a par 3. The

par 3 thirteenth might be the most visually stunning of all of the holes out

there. Which I know you know is hard to believe, but I really think it might

be.

 

 

*LN: More than sixteen?

 

 

DMK: More than sixteen. I think that believe it or not I don't think that

sixteen wouldn't even make the top 2 of the par 3's. I think eight and

thirteen out do it considerably.

 

*LN: When we walked the course, you spoke about designing a short par 4 that

would be "un-drivable", is that the tenth, and were you able to create what you

set out to design there?

 

 

DMK: Yes. It's about 300 yards from the tips, it's a hard dog-leg left. It may be

possible to drive it, but there are some big trees and the green is not designed

to accept a drive - just too much risk. It's really a lay up, but you have to decide

what to lay up with, are you going to lay up with a 7 iron and hit your approach

with a 9 iron, or are you going to hit 3 wood and have a half wedge? The green is

the only one on the golf course with a serious false front, so there's a little bit of

a knee knocker wedge onto the green.

 

 

*LN: That leads me to our discussion about your time collaborating with Tom

Watson at Beaverbrook Golf Club (outside of London), and what you learned

about course management and how to apply it to your design work. I found it

fascinating, please explain . . .

 

 

DMK: It was all about his course management, he explained it in terms of threat

and opportunity. He would counter the threat versus the opportunity, if the threat

was even marginally high, he would almost always discount the opportunity. So for

a golf course designer, we often design holes where there is risk and reward but

we don't view it in the eyes of someone like Tom Watson. The risk might be where

maybe he's going to make double bogey and the minute he sees that risk he just

won't take it, he just sees it as too big a risk - and that was the lesson I learned.

The threat versus opportunity, the threat has to be relatively low. It just can't be

double bogey, because he just won't go for it. The threat has to be a stroke at the

very most, he's not going to take on a bunker that costs him an entire stroke with

no chance for reprieve. I realized that I had to be measured about how much threat

I put out there versus the opportunity, and that's what Gamble Sands does. There

is lots and lots of opportunity and the threats are relatively low. The punishment

will match the crime, if you don't pull it off I'm going to give you a slightly more

difficult lie or a little less view of the pin, or a little bit harder angle but I'm not

going to put you in a 8 ft deep bunker, knee high grass or make you hunt for the

ball. I'm gonna give you a play, you're never out of it - there's always a chance

for redemption.

 

*LN: Did Tom disclose where his course management philosophy came from, was

it something that he learned through trials and tribulations along the way?

 

DMK: I can't speak for Tom, but the way that I heard it over the 5 years that

I spent working with Tom on Beaverbrook - I asked him many times about his

career and the path that he took - and he's probably the most accomplished links

player in modern times, even surpassing Nicklaus as far as performance on British

Isles links courses. It seems to me that what I heard was that early on when

he started playing these links courses and he was very aggressive - they kicked

his ass. He had to learn to be patient and to hit away from the pin sometimes

because the threat out weighed the opportunity. He learned that with the threat

level reduced he could then maximize the opportunity and those were the kinds

of conversations that we would have. I would draw out of it the simplistic view of

how he views his course management.

 

*LN: Going back to the un-driveable tenth on Mammoth, were you influenced

doing that design to see if you could employ some of Tom's course management

into that hole. Perhaps to require players to chose the prudent play?

 

DMK: Time will have to tell, but I did do everything in my power to try and

persuade you to not pull driver there. The threat is very high. My hope is that

even the most emboldened of players will see that the threat level is very high

and they need to consider their options. For the golfers that go there that don't

have course management in their quiver, hopefully they look at it and know I

can't hit driver even though it's within my yardage - ok, I'll hit 3 wood. The level

of threat with a 3 wood is still pretty high, well maybe I'll hit rescue, and even

that requires hitting into a very narrow target. Maybe through course design I

can lead their thinking into - Well it's only 275 yards from my tee, I can easily just hit 6

iron/9 iron, and I'd be in the same spot with no risk. Why not do that.

 

So maybe I can manipulate the golfing masses to consider their options a little

more than just grabbing driver on every par 4 or par 5. If you're going at that

hole (the tenth) with a driver, it's one of the few holes on the course where you

can lose a ball.

 

 

DMK: So why are the great masters not necessarily the best teachers of golf

course architecture today? My business thinks that they all are the best teachers.

They look at Seth Raynor and say if I could build golf courses as he did almost

100 years ago I would be an out of the ballpark success and I'm not sure that

would be true. I think a lot of those greens and holes would be so difficult for the

average player that the participation rates would fall even faster than they have in

last decade. They're just too hard. Golf courses of the past like Oakmont and Pine

Valley have led to the creation of courses like Erin Hlls and Whistling Straits, are

those really the best golf courses for modern times. How many people play those

and get their ass kicked and decide they don't want to go back? It's an interesting

debate all in itself.

 

And yet hundreds of thousands of people have gone to Bandon Dunes, maybe

millions at this point - because the courses are great for players like you and I,

but they're also great for the average guy because they won't lose golf balls and

they'll have a chance for recovery and redemption. The average player sees

Bandon and all they see is acres and acres of grass and it's appealing to them.

They can spray it all over the place and make bogey or double bogey, but all

with the same golf ball and they like that.


LN: Mike (Keiser), he's been out here periodically right?

 

 

DMK: Yeah, he loves it. He'll be here this weekend. It's been great, I never

pushed Mike to hire me again after Bandon, I went off and did my own thing.

I kind of waited on him and waited on the right timing and I knew once I

finished Gamble the time was right to go back to Mike and say hey come

have a look at this. I talk a lot about the influence of developers and real

estate and the Tiger effect that led me and many golf course designers

down a path away from fun and playability. Golf became frustrating and

somewhat humiliating to the average player.

 

 

LN: That's great perspective. What are your thoughts on the "Augusta effect"

and how it has influenced so many golf clubs and American golfers that think

that's what their club should aspire to be? Most American golfers don't realize

that what Augusta National has created isn't realistic in terms of their unlimited

resources and its pristine presentation. It may be the best tournament in the

world, but it's also been created and maintained by resources of the wealthiest

people on earth.

 

 

DMK: My thoughts going all the way back to Bandon, was that even though

my design philosophy started one way and changed to something else and

then back to what I started with, my philosophies in terms of naturalism and

minimalism will never change. I've always been trying to build courses that

took inspiration from the landscape around them. I think that over the last

generation golfers have become so sophisticated - especially in the U.S that

perfection has been so easily achieved by the people in Agronomy, where

perfect surfaces are taken as the norm. That anything less than perfection

is seen as failure, and so there is a certain yearning by the American golfer

to embrace imperfection and take nature and love it for it's imperfections.

So something like Bandon Dunes when it happened was pushing an open

door. People's consciousness was there, they were starting to think about

electric cars and recycling - and they went to Bandon Dunes and said "Wow,

this is nature, This is raw nature! And that has inspired a generation for golf

courses like Streamsong, Sand Valley and even to some extent something

like Whistling Straits that is fake, but there is something to be said for doing

fake really well.

 

 

DMK: (shifting back into caddie/player mode)

Ok, par 5 15th - 495 yards. You're downwind today so the speed slot is on

the high right side of that bunker. If you can stay left of that tall tree in the

distance and I'm gonna give you 50 extra yards.

 

 

LN: So you get to a hole or a spot on the property like this, how many trees

were in the path of this particular tract of land here?

 

 

DMK: See the Oak trees on the right, they hug the high ridges and because

these ridges were steep, the paper company that owned this land before

didn't tear those out and plant red pines (the Norwegian pulp trees) - but

everything else they did. Mike Keiser's mandate to everyone in this project

especially his own sons was: This is a golf project and a restoration project,

they're simpatico.

I'm not going to give one more than the other. When I came out here, Mike

made it abundantly clear to Casey and I on threat of getting fired. If it is

native like these Oak Savanna you're not chopping it down, you will respect it.

We took out everything that was the red pines and he embraced us doing so.

Once we took out these rows of pines we had giant oaks from here all the way

up to the oaks on the ridge. Once we had the space it was just Oh baby, what

can we dream up! Zero dirt is moved on any of these holes, it's just basic

shaping. The fun thing for us was dreaming up strategies.

 

 

LN: You must have just been gushing when you first saw this place?

 

 

DMK: Yeah, I thought for awhile I was going to get to do the first course, but

one of the things that I've always said about Bandon (when people ask what

would you do different) is I've always said I would have gone second. So

Mike gave me my wish here.

 

 

LN: Why second?

 

 

DMK: There are massive advantages to going second, it's not even fair.

Whoever goes second, unless they're stupid - before you've even started

you're as good as the guy who went first.

 

 

LN: Please elaborate.

 

 

DMK: By the time that I got here they had a whole wealth of knowledge

about how they did it. I can go around and ask Bill (Coore) how to do this

and that, how did that work? Which parts didn't work? All the staff that built

it went from that course to this course.

 


LN: I hear they may possibly be interested in doing up to four or five courses

here, is that true?

 

 

DMK: Oh yeah. He owns 9000 acres here, measure that in square miles. He

bought two then he bought another seven (it measures out at just over 14

square miles).

 

 

LN: That sounds Mosaic like and the size of their property size at Streamsong,

do you think they're done with three after Gil's (Black) course? Any interest in

doing one there? It's my opinion that it would be a great spot for you . . .

 

 

DMK: They're not done over there either, but we'll see what Rich Mack says

after he sees this, and as my granny used to say, "What's for you, won't go

by you".

 

 

LN: Love that, may have to steal that.

 

(After a really good tee shot, I miss hit a few shots including the blind approach

and the putt for par on the 15th. Halfway through the preview holes I was +1,

but more importantly this was the moment when we walked up to the 16th tee

and I simply said Wow!)

 

 

This photo I captured of the 16th illustrates the dramatic setting, so I

opted for black and white. The green lies behind the giant dune you see

on the right. (I included the resort's color version at the beginning of this

Q & A feature).

 

 

LN: So was that dune on the right already existing?

 

 

DMK: Yes, originally I had the green on top of it, We started clearing on

one of the first visits and I said to Mike, I just don't like that location, I want

to put it there (on the backside). He says, On the backside of the hill? I say,

Mike, I can build a way better hole on the backside of that hill. He says, I

don't think you can. He really really did not want me to build it this way, but

eventually he relinquished and we built it.

 

LN: What was your thought there, too exposed to wind ?

 

DMK: It was just too obvious, like a kiddies coloring book. I hate golf courses

that are like that. I want to have to figure it out, I want there to be a a riddle,

a conundrum - something interesting . . . You have 145 yds to the pin.

 

 

 

 

 

 

photo courtesy of Casey Krahenbuhl

Tom Watson with David & his wife Tara who plays golf on the Symetra Tour

 

 

 

 

 

 

17th on Mammoth Dunes

 

 

 

 

(After a solid up and down on the 427 yard seventeenth, it was off to the

final hole) - A 511 yard par 5 that plays uphill on the approach to a super

wide putting surface that is probably close 50 yards across, but isn't very

deep.

 

 

DMK: Great tee shot, only 215 yards of carry left and the pin is 235. Aim at

the right half of the white marquis (temporary tent), this is a big chance for

me to recoup my reputation as a caddie.

 

LN: (Thwack) Not sure if that's gonna make it over, went for the cut - didn't

pull it off.

 

DMK: You're good, just a chip and putt left.

 

 

LN: (we walk up to my ball that has finished up about 20 yards left of the

green) That's gonna be an interesting shot.

 

DMK: That's actually a great spot, I'm hoping that the turf firms up so that

your ball would have rolled out a bit more.

 

(He points over to the left) That's actually the 17th on the short course over

there.

 

LN: Oh right, that's probably why Bill (Coore) was here last week. (When I

think of Bill Coore and short courses my mind always drifts to Bandon

Preserve). Any thoughts about whether Mike Keiser is done at Bandon or is

that other coastal property out there still in play?

 

DMK: I've heard rumbling that it's still in play, and perhaps Gil (Hanse) gets

that one, but Mike has a lot of irons in the fire and he's 72 now.

 

(Back to the golf - we're pin high, but facing about a 40 yard shot with 25

yards being fairway cut and Kidd decides it's a good time for a shortgame

challenge.) Good chance for your Texas wedge here. What are you thinking

of using 5 iron, 7 iron?


LN: Probably my gap wedge.

 

 

DMK: I'm gonna go 7 iron. This is my version of a Texas wedge. Of course

in Scotland we don't call it that. (the shot actually played firm and true, as

both David's 7 iron bump and run and my wedge both rolled out well beyond

the hole. After I two putted for par finishing the 6 hole loop at +1)

 

 

LN: I saw a video recently of you and the crew rolling a basketball along the

ridges and contours to get a true sense of what a golf ball will do on turf once

grown in. What a brilliant idea, have you always used that?

 

DMK: Not always, maybe the last three (courses). You can't trust your eye,

but you only use a basketball on sand.

 

 

*LN: Last one for you, you're almost done with the golf course, and I wanted

to get your overall thoughts and emotions on your work on Mammoth Dunes

and the nearly finished product. Where are you at right now with all of that?

 

DMK: I'm fortunate enough to have a number of courses that sit in various

rankings in the U.S and the world, and I think that Mammoth Dunes is the best

golf course I've ever done in my career. I haven't been happier with a project

than I am with this. I think it's every bit as much fun as Gamble Sands, it has

all of the playability of Bandon Dunes and it has a maturity that has taken me

30 years to develop. I knew when to press on the gas and I knew when to be

somewhat restrained.

 

*LN: (ok, so I lied - one more) You're 50 now, as am I, do you find that what

you lose in youth, you seem to gain in knowledge and perspective?

 

DMK: Well, when I was in my 20's I thought I was really really confident. I

was very, very confident. You look back at it and you say to yourself, that

cocky little shit didn't have much to be confident about. Why was he so

confident. Then at 50 you say, ok now I can be quietly confident because

I've made so many mistakes that hopefully I learned from, that now I actually

have something to be confident about. When you're in your 20's the confidence

is all bravado, with little knowledge or experience behind it.

 

 

LN: David, Thank You for doing this, appreciate you spending the time to show

me around, this place is really going to be something special.

 

 

DMK: It was my pleasure, how much fun is this - showing off your baby. It

was 2013 when I was first here and now it's 2017, so four years I've been

coming to this site. I will be here quite a bit through mid-September, then

from there on out it will be sporadic.

 

See you for the opening in July.

 

LN: Absolutely, I sure hope so. "If it's for me, it won't go by me."

 

 

 

 

For more info on David McLay-Kidd: http://dmkgolfdesign.com/

 

Sand Valley: http://www.sandvalleygolfresort.com/